I read because without it my life becomes an unremarkable grey swirl of transient compulsions and mediocre television. Reading punctuates my life like nothing else. Books are my temporal markers, sturdy tent poles that let the show continue. It’s never who I was dating, but rather what I was reading. That wasn’t the year of prom but the year of Kerouac. First car? No, the first time I tried to read Ulysses. I think about air travel in page volume. Layover in Denver? Plus 3 chapters.
Reading allows me to take control of the inputs. I chose my author, subject, and adventure. I can block out the slaphappy circus of glittering advertisements and crouch-shot propaganda that is the miasma of pop culture. It busts through my crusty pessimism and reminds me that there have been humans with human ideas and will continue to be humans quietly shouting about human things. Reading is subversive.
Reading is quick hit of cool Visine or a real good enema. It reminds me that there are delicious things happening in my periphery at all times. It makes me want turn my head and look. But most importantly, it give me the confidence to not look away.